As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the Chicago CTA will be introducing a radically new method of transit fare payment. This new payment system is called Ventra, which will heavily emphasize the use of contactless payment cards to speed up boarding of buses and trains, help improve efficiency throughout the entire CTA system, and modernize fare payment for the 21st Century.
What is this all about?
Ventra is part of an effort by the City of Chicago to provide an open fare/payment structure for its transit system, the first of it’s kind in the nation. Why is this being done? Beacuase nowadays, more and more people are utilizing contactless methods of payment when going about making everyday purchases. This includes contactless credit and debit cards (which are equipped with RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, chips), as well as smartphone apps that allow people to make purchases without having to make a single card swipe. For a while now, the major credit card companies have had contactless payment systems and cards to allow people to simply hover their card over the contactless interface that is equipped on credit card terminals to make a purchase at various businesses. One example of this is Express Pay, provided by American Express. Yes, I did mention smartphones. Many people now use smartphones to make purchases as well, including the use of QR readers, so that they don’t have to dig out their wallets for change or even their credit or debit card. Instead, people simply take a photo of a special code box that contains (a lot of) data and vola! Purchase made! In addition, many major banks are adopting contactless methods as well, including various smartphone apps, to make life easier.